Government functionaries, scholars and practitioners of Community Media in Lagos State have agreed that journalism at the grassroots level is an important tool that can be used to change the narrative in any community and also to bringing about harmonious relationship between the people and the government as well as engerder mutual co-existence among the populace.
In performing their functions, journalists at the grassroots were also enjoined to always uphold the tenets of the profession and be creative in engaging audience from time-to-time.
These among other issues were part of the communique issued at the end of the 2-Day workdshop for Community Media Practitioners; sponsored by the Lagos State Government through the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communities and Communications.
The workshop, themed, “Strategic Communication: A Tool For Media Networking and Community Relations”, was held at the Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, between Thursday, December 27 and Friday, December 28, 2018.
COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF A TWO-DAY WORKSHOP ORGANISED BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE GOVERNOR ON COMMUNITIES AND COMMUNICATIONS AND LAGOS STATE MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS FOR COMMUNITY MEDIA PRACTITIONERS HELD ON THURSDAY, 27TH – FRIDAY, 28TH DECEMBER, 2018 @ ORIENTAL HOTELS, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS.
The office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communities and Communications and Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs held a two-day workshop for community media practitioners with the theme: ‘Strategic Communication: A tool for media networking & community relations’. The workshop, which was supported by His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, was held on Thursday 27th – Friday, 28th December, 2018, at the Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The workshop, which attracted a total of 204 journalists from both print and electronic media, also had in attendance top government functionaries in the state.
The thrust of the workshop was to build the capacities of the concerned media practitioners for the development of communities across the State. Overall, the workshop focused on building the capacity of participants on professional reportage of news stories, ingenuity in marrying integrity, objectivity and sustainability together. The workshop, among many other purposes, was aimed at helping community media practitioners to bridge the information link between the people in the grassroots and government by providing timely and accurate information on the programmes and policies of government.
Three papers were presented at the workshop. The delivery format included lead presentations followed by discussions by the participants. With resource persons from Academia and public sector, the main papers delivered at the workshop were :
Strategies for Human Relations and Administrative Communication for Growth and Development.
Community, Conflict, Communication: the nexus.
Public Relations skills for community media practitioners.
The Workshop identified and noted the following:
- Lagos State is leading other states in Nigeria as the state with the highest number of community media.
- The workshop is a clear attestation to the fact that the state government understands the relevance of community media.
- Community media is a service to the community and practitioners have attachment to their communities.
- ‘Embellished’ news reports are often the purveyor of conflicts in the society.
- Sustainability of community newspapers is vital to government and entrenchment of transparency.
- Mass media survive on government advertisement.
- There is no absolute objectivity in journalism anywhere in the world but community media practitioners at all-time must protect the interest of the grassroots.
- The dynamism of a well-managed community media improves literacy in the society and help defend the right of vulnerable members of the community.
- Media practitioners will lose credibility when it is well known with fake news. When you impress on falsehood. You lose your credibility over time.
- Community media is the most potent tool which can be used to change the narrative of any community.
- Community media are accountable to the community they serve and must be free from political or commercial interference.
In view of the relevance of community media and commitment of Lagos State to inclusive governance, the following recommendations were made to serve as a way forward in establishing mutual relationship between the government and community media practitioners.
- Practitioners must continue to project Local and State Governments in good light. Projecting the activities of the state government to community dwellers and relaying the feedback to the government should be the core objective of community media.
- Community media practitioners should restrict themselves to ethical standard and abstain from fake news.
- There is need for higher level of diplomacy in community media practices. When you see something good in opposition party, report it, though, its credence may not be as wide as that of government in power.
- Media practitioners are the voice of the people, hence they must investigate and ascertain authenticity before dishing out messages.
- It is vital for media practitioners to put ingenuity into their reporting. The workshop argued against reporting of event from peripheral level. Media practitioners are seen as the voice of the people and as a result, must investigate and ascertain authenticity before dishing out messages.
- A well-structured community media will enhance mutual coexistence among residents in the community.
- Journalists are enjoined to be objective and apolitical.
- It is expected of media practitioners to write something that can stand the test of time.
- Citing the Publisher of Oriwu Sun who has never written a rejoinder in his 34 years of community journalism as a good example. The rule, according to the resource persons, is to get facts from reliable sources.
- Community media exist with code of ethics and anyone venturing into the profession must adhere to its standing rules.
- It is high time we elect people of high integrity into political institutions.
His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, was lauded for his unrivalled stride in building the capacities of media practitioners for the development of communities across the state.
The resource persons equally lauded the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs for organizing the workshop while the participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity extended to them to attend the workshop which was generally agreed to be of high quality.
The participants also applauded the gala night organised at the workshop which afforded them the opportunity to unwind and network among themselves.